The upcoming New Baptist Covenant Celebration is receiving more publicity than any Baptist event in recent times. The attention given to the January 30 - February 1 event event is deserved, as it will be the most diverse gathering of North American Baptists since the days of the Triennial Convention in the early 19th century. African-American Baptists, a fast growing segment of Baptist life in America, may well outnumber all others. Baptist layman Jimmy Carter, Al Gore, Bill Clinton, John Grisham, Chuck Grassley and Lindsay Graham will speak alongside well-known ministers such as Tony Campolo, William Shaw, Julie-Pennington Russell and Joel Gregory in a show of Gospel unity.
The theme of the event is the Gospel itself: Bringing Good News to the Poor, Respecting Diversity, Seeking Peace with Justice, Welcoming the Stranger and Setting the Captive Free. Baptists are unfortunately known more for their disagreements than commonalities, but in this instance, all Baptists should be able to agree on the central tenets of Jesus' teachings in the Gospels.
Grisham is the latest speaker to be announced. The novelist rarely gives speeches these days, but his Baptist convictions led him to accept the invitation.
If Baptists took Jesus' own words to heart, what would it look like? Come to Atlanta on January 30 to find out!